Open Letter to Visitor

It was Saturday morning and we were still in bed, beginning a very intense discussion, when you happened to knock on our door. “You’re looking at me funny,” he’d just said. “Like you don’t know who I am.”

“Well, I guess it’s just a side of you I hadn’t considered before,” I said. “Not that it’s wrong, it’s just –”

Knock knock!

“Is that someone at the door?”

We laid there, in our pajamas, staring hard at the wall as if we’d hear better that way. “Nah,” I said. “I don’t think so.”

Knock knock!

“It really sounds like someone at our door.”

“The walls here are so thin. It must be someone else’s apartment, it’d be louder if that was our door.”

We waited, listening for a few minutes. Nothing. If it had been you, you’d given up, we thought.

“So, anyway -”


“Christ! Now that’s our buzzer for the door downstairs!”


“I’m not even wearing –”

“I’ll get it,” he said, pummeling out of bed.

Every time that buzzer rings, an electric current courses through our nervous systems. Apparently, back in the ’20s, when these things were installed, people were mostly deaf, and required the walls to shake framed portraits onto the floor before they could notice a vistor. It must have been all that newfangled radio they were listening to.


Jurvis pressed the “talk” button near our door. “Hello?” he said.

I clutched the covers around me, like women in the movies do.

“Hello!” you screamed into our living room statically. “Hello! Hello? Hello!”

We could hear you, through the intercom, buzzing another apartment, simultaneously. What was your deal?


Ah, the distinctive, blaring horn sound of our front door unlocking. Apparently, these other people let you in.

You marched up the stairs toward our apartment. I briefly wondered if your shoes were made out of lead, or elephants.

“MARSHA?” you yelled the whole way. “KEN? MARSHA AND KEN? MARSHA?”

Jurvis stood in our doorway as you approached our landing. “No ma’am,” I could hear him say to you courteously. “They don’t live here. You must have the wrong apartment. You know, they labeled the buzzers wrong, we’re switched with apartment 6 –”

“Ohhhhhhhhhh!” you cackled. “So that’s why it said on the invitation, do not ring apartment 8!”

Actually, there are also three signs downstairs, too — post-its smothered all over our building’s intercom system — because this happens all the freaking time.

He came back into the bedroom slowly, with a bit of a swagger, like men in the movies do. “Uh, soooo,” he said, sitting beside me with concern. “Where were we?”

“Yeah, you know,” I said, struggling against the urge to titter. “Uh, whatever. It’s fine. Want to make some breakfast?”

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